Car­ers pro­vide sta­bil­ity

Joondalup Weekender - - News - Lucy Jarvis

“ANY­ONE can do it,” fos­ter carer Mary Brown said of the role she and hus­band Roger took up about four years ago.

“There must be so many peo­ple that can do it.”

The Hillarys res­i­dents spoke to the Week­ender about their ex­pe­ri­ences as car­ers for three boys – aged seven, al­most eight and nine – ahead of an up­com­ing fos­ter car­ers in­for­ma­tion ses­sion in Joon­dalup.

Semi-re­tired, the cou­ple de­cided to be­come fos­ter car­ers af­ter re­turn­ing from a trip over­seas.

“Our kids are grown up and have left home,” Mr Brown said.

“We were talk­ing along the lines of ‘what are we go­ing to do now?’; I came home from work and she said ‘what about fos­ter­ing?’.

“I had a great child­hood; it re­ally ap­pealed to me to put some­thing back and give a kid an op­por­tu­nity to have a choice be­tween chaos and what I be­lieve is nor­mal life.

“I just wanted them to have good memories; to have that op­por­tu­nity to stand on their own feet.”

The Browns took the first step by at­tend­ing an in­for­ma­tion ses­sion sim­i­lar to the one planned at the Joon­dalup dis­trict of­fice on May 9. Mr Brown said it took about nine months to go through the as­sess­ment and train­ing.

He said while they had al­ready raised their own son and daugh­ter, now aged 30 and 28, fos­ter care was dif­fer­ent.

“We’ve had a sec­ond chance at see­ing it from a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive,” he said. “It’s re­vi­talised us; I’m build­ing sand cas­tles and go­ing to school as­sem­blies.”

While the Browns have faced dif­fi­cult be­hav­iours, the cou­ple said the boys’ progress made it worth it.

“I look back and see how they have flour­ished,” Mrs Brown said.

“It’s im­por­tant to those kids that some­one sta­ble like that cares and be­lieves in them.”

The Browns said fos­ter­ing in­volved part­ner­ships be­tween them­selves, the de­part­ment, the chil­dren’s ex­tended fam­i­lies and schools, and they were grate­ful for all the sup­port pro­vided.

With more than 300 chil­dren in care in the Joon­dalup dis­trict, act­ing dis­trict di­rec­tor Ben White­house said the de­part­ment was look­ing for peo­ple who wanted to make a dif­fer­ence in a child or young per­son’s life. The in­for­ma­tion ses­sion at 8 David­son Ter­race, Joon­dalup on May 9 is from 6-8pm.

“Fos­ter car­ers can be sin­gle women or men, mar­ried or same­sex cou­ples, with or with­out chil­dren of their own, or young or old,” Mr White­house said. “More than www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d468274 120 chil­dren in care in the Joon­dalup dis­trict are Abo­rig­i­nal and wher­ever pos­si­ble, they are cared for by their ex­tended fam­ily, a mem­ber of their Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity or other Abo­rig­i­nal car­ers.

“When Abo­rig­i­nal car­ers are not avail­able, the chil­dren are cared for by lo­cal fos­ter car­ers,.

“Ev­ery child de­serves a per­ma­nent, safe and sta­ble home.”

Visit www.cpfs.wa.gov.au or call 1800 182 178.

Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey

Fos­ter car­ers Roger and Mary Brown.

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